Highlands’ Thimons in race to get to PIAA track medals podium
By: Michael Love
Thursday, May 23, 2019 | 4:54 PM
It’s déjà vu for Cj Thimons.
Last year, the Highlands junior placed fourth in the Class AAA boys 800-meter run at the WPIAL championships and earned the No. 10 seed for the PIAA meet at Shippensburg.
Thimons repeated his fourth-place finish in the event at WPIALs last week at Slippery Rock and again is the No. 10 seed in his return to Shippensburg on Friday and Saturday.
This time, however, he hopes to improve on his placement. Last year, he finished 26th. Thimons said confidence from his previous PIAA experience should help this time around.
“It should be another competitive race this year,” said Thimons, who ran a time of 1 minute, 56.11 seconds at WPIALs. “A lot of kids in the WPIAL posted great times this year, and I’ve been lucky to be able to run with them. It’s brought out the best in me. I expect it to be a quick race, and I hope to be in medal contention at the end.”
Thimons is one of several Alle-Kiski Valley athletes returning to the state meet.
Burrell senior Kaylen Sharrow, the WPIAL champion in the Class AA girls 100 hurdles and runner-up in the 300, will run the former at states this year after scratching out of the event last year. She is seeded seventh for the 100 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles.
It’s been business as usual for Sharrow as she prepares for her final run at states.
“It’s a mix of endurance, speed work and hurdle technique,” said Sharrow, who recorded a personal best (45.69) in finishing runner-up in 300 hurdles.
Deer Lakes senior Kiera Cutright, a two-time WPIAL champion in the Class AA 300 hurdles, is seeded third — the highest seeding for an A-K Valley athlete.
Freeport junior Sidney Shemanski, last year’s PIAA runner-up to Shady Side Academy’s Melissa Riggins in the 800, is the ninth seed. She also qualified for states in the 400 but is opting out to concentrate on the 800.
Fox Chapel senior Christian Fitch is seeded fifth in the Class AAA boys 3,200 run (9:21.26). The top five seeds in the event are WPIAL runners, including WPIAL champion Zachary Kinne, a senior from North Allegheny.
“You go into states knowing you did well in the season, and you want to trust that what got you there will help you do well,” Fitch said. “I’ve been running against those guys from the WPIAL all year, and I am pretty familiar with them. Knowing some of the guys from the other districts, I know they can run faster. I expect it won’t be the WPIAL guys running in a group. There will be others mixing in. It should be interesting.”
Personal bests will be a goal for everyone at states. Plum senior Hunter Linhart hit a personal best of 147 feet, 7 inches in finishing 10th in the boys AAA discus last year. He was an inch short of that mark at WPIALs last week, but it was enough to place him at the top of the podium.
In all, 30 Alle-Kiski athletes will compete at states this weekend.
It’s a mixture of PIAA veterans and newcomers on the Burrell girls 400 relay, which won its fifth straight WPIAL title at Slippery Rock. Senior Allee Kuhns and Olivia Kelly ran at states last year, but it’s a new game for junior Madi Walsh and sophomore Jocelyn Vickers.
The quartet, which ran a time of 49.86 at WPIALs and is seeded fifth at states, is chasing the school record of 49.22 set in 2013.
“They prepare physically as much as possible on the track and with good nutrition and rest, and you want them to go in mentally strong so they understand the routines and are prepared for who they will run against,” Burrell coach Steve White said.
St. Joseph’s CJ Singleton is one of four freshmen in the Class AA boys 3,200 run. He is seeded 20th.
Deer Lakes’ Carson McCoy is one of two freshmen in the Class AA boys 800. He also is seeded 20th.
Friday’s action starts at 9 a.m. with the preliminaries of the AAA and AA boys and girls 3,200 relay and several field finals.
Track semifinals and finals will be Saturday starting at 9 a.m., and the field events will continue.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .